Wallace Hartley: One of the musicians who ‘played on’ as the Titanic sank

One hundred years ago families and friends of those who died aboard the Titanic were trying to come to terms with the dreadful loss of life.  Amongst the passengers who perished was Wallace Hartley who, at the time of his death was living in Dewsbury and was a member of the Leeds Professional Musicians.  Wallace was one of the eight band members who famously played their instruments as the ship was sinking to ‘entertain’ the passengers as they attempted to board lifeboats.  Mr Hartley and all of the other seven orchestra members died that day.

A piece of artwork has recently been displayed at Leeds Art Gallery to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Mr Hartley, a piece that was purchased in July 1912 by the Library and Arts Committee with a cheque given to them by the “Wallace Hartley” Memorial Fund Committee.  The donation was to enable the city to purchase a suitable picture for Leeds Art Gallery for their permanent collection.  That suitable picture was by F Cayley Robinson and was entitled “Outward Bound”.

Minute taken from the Leeds City Council Annual Reports of Committees, December 1912 (reference LL8/1/1/35). 

Outward Bound can be seen on the Leeds Art Gallery website 

For more information on those who died in the tragedy, includingWallace Hartley, have a look at the National Archives website where you can access the ship’s passenger lists and many other resources which shed light on that terrible day.


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